electronic brain surgery since 2001

Save Energy with your Wii

It's Blog Action Day and bloggers everywhere are writing about the environment.

As I told you before I'm already using green electricity, which basically means the power my devices consume does not add to my carbon footprint anymore. Still, saving energy is a good idea non the less. It also means saving money.

Power Consumption Measurement Tool I had a look at how much power all my devices really consume. To do so I borrowed a simple tool from a friend. You plug it into a power socket, then pluck a device into the tool. A little LCD screen then displays the amount of electricity used by your device in Watts. I did this for all my electronic gadgets and recorded their consumptions in a Google Spreadsheet1).

I especially looked at how much the different appliances consume while turned off. Most modern consumer devices do not turn off completely. They go into standby to be switched on again by a remote control for example. This can be a real waste of energy.

There were a few surprises. Most power is consumed by devices turning power into heat (Water Cooker, Coffe Machine, Laser Printer), that was expected. A Laser Printer can suck a lot of power when turned on because it keeps itself at a certain temparature the whole time. You should always turn it off when not needed!

Another power consumer I hadn't expected are subwoofers or active speakers. I turned out that my computer speakers (with subwoofer) always draw the same power regardless of being turned on or off :-O. Together with the ATX-Standard standby current they amount for about 10 Watts when switched off. Using a switchable power strip could help saving some energy and money here.

The Wii - Too Power hungry? The biggest surprise was my Wii. It draws amazingly little energy while playing a game (18 Watts) - compare that to a PC or a laptop. But the Wii had a really high standby consumption of 10 Watts!

In fact there are three power states your Wii can be in. They are indicated by the color of its power LED:

  • Green LED (on): about 18 Watts
  • Orange LED (standby): about 10 Watts
  • Red LED (standby): about 1 Watt

The question is: how to power down the Wii to the red standby mode?

The trick is to disable the WiiConnect24 standby option. This means it will not download weather or news updates in standby, but that seems to be a small loss compared to the saved energy and money.

Here is what to do:

  1. open the Wii Options menu
  2. choose Wii Settings
  3. on page two select the WiiConnect24 button
  4. choose Standby Connection
  5. click on Off and hit Confirm

So how much does this save? Let's assume you're a power gamer using your Wii for two hours every single day in a year. That's 22 hours per day. That makes 22*365 = 8030 hours per year. The mentioned trick saves about 9 Watts. That's 8030*9 = 72270 Watthours or 72.3 kWh. I currently pay 18.98 cents per kWh. That's 0.1898*72.3 = 13.72€ per year.

Granted, it's not much. But it's a way to save a little money and power without doing much. Just find two more similar savings and you have a new Wii game for free.

environment, wii, energy
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The minimum measurable consumption was 1 Watt